Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded on November 1, 1776. It is the seventh of twenty one Spanish missions in California and sits on ten beautifully manicured acres in the historic center of San Juan Capistrano. This was our first time here but it won’t be the last. With monarch butterflies floating from one flower blossom to the next, history dating back to before the Spanish conquest, lizards racing along historic walls, and seemingly endless intriguing art and architecture, we were lured into becoming annual members. I think this is by far my favorite mission.
Twenty years after the mission was founded, construction of a stone church began, one large enough to house all of the people then living at the mission. It was a community project, made of small stones so young and old, women and children could take part in its construction. Upon its completion it was considered a modern marvel but less than a decade after it was built it was destroyed in an earthquake, during morning mass. The church was never rebuilt, but from what remains it is evident how beautiful the Great Stone Church once was.